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Wednesday
Nov062013

90 Day Food Challenge

October 30, 2013:  No challenge would be complete without a stir fry!  This recipe is super simple and if you love a good salty/sweet side dish check out the toasted coconut brown rice.  This dish can also be stored in the refrigerator and served the next day!  Feel free to substitute the shrimp with chicken, beef, or eliminate it all together for a true vegetarian delight!

Shrimp Stir Fry

Toasted Coconut Brown Rice

October 16, 2013:  I have been craving this bolognese sauce since our trip to Napa last month.  We were lucky enough to eat at Michael Chiarello's restaurant, Bottega. While I generally do not order bolognese (I find it too filling when I am out for dinner), this speciality was served as part of a prix fixe menu.  Thank god.  You MUST try this.  The "at home" version is super good and your kitchen will smell amazing.  I served this with whole wheat penne pasta and a side of steamed artichokes with a garlic aioli dip.  

NOTE:  When I made this, I doubled the tomato sauce and I substituted additional porcini water for the veal stock. Also, while sauteing the onions, I added one diced carrot and one diced celery stalk.

Veal, Pork and Porcini Bolognese


October 14, 2013:  Take a break from tacos with this "make it your own" dish.  For this recipe, I picked from my favorite Greek/Middle Eastern tastes and spices and came up with my take on the traditional "Mezze Platter".  

 

October 4, 2013:  Tis the season for roasted butternut squash!  What better way to enjoy it than inside a ravioli and finished with pecorino, brown butter and fried sage.  

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

September 30, 2013: Pie for dinner?  Try this savory one- it is very easy to make and it a crowd pleaser!  I paired this with a simple salad with crumbled bleu cheese and the famous Vivenne's salad dressing from St. Louis, MO.  

French Meat Pie
 

Also, if you have time, pick up the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine- it highlights California wines and vineyards and I found it to be quite inspriring.  I can't wait to try all the great cabernets now that the weather is getting chilly.  Here are our photos from our latest trip to Napa!

 

September 26, 2013:  The 90 day challenge continues....and its the best trimester I've ever experienced ;)  We are just back from a long weekend in Napa, CA where the wine practically flows from the sink faucets.  While the region is known for its gorgeous countryside and its fabulous cabernets, the restaurants are quickly becoming a main attraction.  I will have some great pictures, fun stories and a few recommendations to share in my next post.  While I sort through all of my pictures, have a look at this Fall menu and consider these options for a warm night this week:

September 18, 2013:  I am obsessing over these caramel apple muffins!!!  I could not resist all of the beautiful apples in the market today and what better way to get through them then to start baking!!  The entire kitchen smells like Fall.  These muffins are tart, sweet and gooey.  No day in September or October should be started without them.  They remind me of when I was a little girl and my dad would make caramel apples on Halloween night for me and my sisters (and the rest of the neighborhood).  I can see him dipping the apples now!!! 

Craving pumpkin?  Tis the season!  I found this simple pumpkin bread recipe online and tried it out since it has so many postive reviews.  I am so pleased with the result (and my son happens to love it too!).  Put your canned pumpkin to good use and make some bread!

September 16, 2013:  After a weekend full of eating, we decided to start of this week on a healthy note. After searching though my freezer, I came across a pound of ground chicken and a package of fresh broccoli and I immediately thought of a simple Asian-style dish:  Asian Ground Chicken Rice Bowl with Broccoli (a slight take off of my Asian Pepper Beef Rice Bowl).  I paired this with Trader Joe's Thai Vegetable Gyoza (just because I had some in my freezer) but you should also consider my Asian Chop Chop Salad recipe as an accompaniment.  

 

Ground chicken can go a long way if you are willing to get creative.  I found a great food blog that had many options to consider:  Cookbook Junkie

 

September 12, 2013:  One month in to challenge.  The past couple of weeks have been interesting and full of fun food memories and ideas.  Firstly, we celebrated Rosh Hashanah with our friends Jill and Kevin Maxwell.  As usual, Jill and her family created an amazing meal and pulled off a great event for 30 people.  I'll have to track down Jill's squash soufflé and cheesecake recipe one of these days so that you can all enjoy it as much as we did!!  

Secondly, we got out a couple of nights, including one amazing night of food in Newport, RI at a French restaurant called "Bouchard".  This is not your typical Newport restaurant that serves clams casino, chowdah and stuffed sole.  Bouchard serves delectable and delicate French haute cuisine and for those of you that like good French food- this is a MUST go.  Reservations recommended.  I started out with a gorgeous escargot ravioli.  It was creamy, savory, buttery and had just the right amount of garlic and herbs.  I continued the garlic theme with my entree (why stop now?!) and indulged in Soft Shell Crabs Provencal.  These crabs were so good that I sent my parents there for dinner the next night and suggested that they pre-order two of them because they move off the menu quickly.  They are still thanking me for the suggestion!!!  

Lastly, I managed to make a couple simple dishes at home- one totally from scratch and one semi homemade.  I recommend both because they are easy and super tasty: 

We will celebrate the next Jewish Holiday with my husband Mike's family in NJ.  I have been working hard on studying the Jewish culture and I have come to learn that while everyone fasts during the day on Yom Kippur, it is really a holiday that is all about food and the "break fast".  My mother in law will do a traditional break fast including a schmorgas of bagels, lox, fish salads and kugels.  I can't wait.  The "break fast" is a bonus when you love food as much as I do and you marry in to a Jewish family.  I can't believe I missed out on this for 30 years.

August 28, 2013:  20 days into the challenge and I am feeling pretty good.  Its been a fun couple of weeks in our kitchens- a 40th birthday party, some good friends over for dinner here and there and, a few quiet nights as a family.  Here are some new ideas to try out:  

August 9, 2013:  No, this is not the giant weight loss program that you might all be thinking of.  Its not a cleanse, its not a carb free event, its not even a "no wine" thing (thank god).  THIS my friends, is a challenge that my ever so endearing husband posed to me this week:  "for the next 90 days,  do not repeat a meal and introduce one new ingredient each time (main ingredient)".  I guess he is getting a bit bored of my standard fare?!?!  Ha Ha.  

The reality is, I am very competitive and I like to be challenged- especially in the kitchen.  So I love him for putting me up to the test.  

I am SO excited for the next 90 days.  Don't expect 90 different entrees (we do eat out or "take in" on occasion), but do expect a whole new series of deliciousness on my blog.   I am going to work hard to post my new ideas. Feel free to send me some of your own to share!!  

 

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